HUNTINGDON, Pa. – The University of Scranton baseball team returned to the chilly north after its spring break trip and split a doubleheader at Juniata to open Landmark Conference play on Saturday.
The Royals took (5-5, 1-1 Landmark) the opener 15-5, on the strength of a nine-run sixth inning, but could not overcome an early seven-run deficit in a 7-6 defeat in game two. Senior Chase Standen (Newtown Square, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) homered in both ends, launching a grand slam in the game one victory and adding a three-run blast in the second game.
The rubber match of the series will take place on Sunday at noon at Juniata.
Game 1 – box score
Scranton led 6-3 going into the sixth inning, but turned the game into a rout with nine runs. Standen capped the uprising with a grand slam after freshman catcher Anthony Lambroia (East Northport, N.Y./Commack), freshman left fielder Connor Harding (Vestal, N.Y./Vestal Central) and sophomore first baseman Kevin Haag (Ossining, N.Y./Ossining/Bridgton Academy) each had RBIs in the inning.
Senior shortstop Justin Howell (Millington, N.J./Watchung Hills) finished with three hits and three runs, Haag singled, drove in three and scored three, senior third baseman Patrick Mergel (Bethlehem, Pa./Bethlehem Catholic) doubled, scored twice and drove in a run, and senior center fielder Tommy Trotter (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) singled, doubled and scored a run.
Senior lefty Brian Markowski (Mountain Top, Pa./Crestwood) earned his second win of the season by allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits and four walks while fanning seven in five innings.
Game 2 – box score
Juniata (2-7, 1-1 Landmark) jumped on top quickly with four runs in the bottom of the first and three more in the bottom of the second for a 7-0 lead.
But the Royals didn't go easily, scoring four in the top of the third inning on an RBI single by senior designated hitter Anthony Caladie (Mountain Top, Pa./Crestwood) and Standen's second homer of the day, a three-run shot that cut the deficit to 7-4.
Scranton got a run back in the fifth when Haag drove in Trotter with a sac fly, setting up a chance to rally over the last two innings. The Royals pushed a run across on Trotter's RBI fielder's choice for the second out in the top of the ninth, but two runners were stranded in scoring position when the Eagles recorded the final out.
Standen finished with a double, homer, three RBIs and a run scored, and Trotter doubled twice, scored twice, drove in a run and stole a base.
The Royals got solid relief in the loss as senior lefty Michael Haag (Ossining, N.Y./Ossining/Bridgton Academy) worked 4 2/3 shutout innings, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out four. Sophomore Christian Huckfeldt (Ambler, Pa./Upper Dublin) followed with two shutout innings, allowing a hit and two walks while fanning two.